- Publication date
- Carmela Baranowska
- Digitizing sponsor
Carmela Baranowskas Taliban Country is a rare and damning insight into what U.S. forces are doing in remote Afghanistan. For three weeks, Carmela was embedded with the U.S. Marines in their remote forward operating Base.
Suspicious of what was really happening, Carmela later became the only person in 2004 to return and independently cover this area. She was reported kidnapped by the Taliban but the source of reports of an abandoned vehicle and Taliban abduction of a Western woman have never been uncovered.
Carmela obtained disturbing testimony from local villagers, some of which echo the sexual abuse documented at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Naval Base.
They fingered us, beat us and humiliated us, alleges villager Wali Mohammad. No Muslim should suffer that. He claims he was imprisoned for three days by the marines after soldiers raided his village and accused him of providing food and shelter to Al Qaeda. His elderly father, Noor Mohammad Lala, was also arrested. They took my clothes. I could not do anything, Noor confides. Both men claim they were sexually abused and forced to pose for photographs. I was so humiliated I couldnt see for my pain, states Noor.
The marines raid on their village of Passau was so offensive that locals want the camera to record every indiscretion. They used this as a toilet, says one man gesturing at the floor of a home. Their wheat harvest was destroyed and the mosque door battered down. As a result of this raid, many people have already left the village. Almost all the families are gone, complains the tribal elder bitterly. Our people are being forced to pack up and leave.
Stories of abuse have tainted the U.S. militarys entire efforts in this region. A few weeks after the raid, Major Alva Cook, Head of Civic Operations, visited the area with gifts of medicine, seeds and a radio. He asked if we needed anything, recalls the village elder. And I said Dont humiliate us.
For the villagers, the actions of the marines allies are as much to be feared as raids by the marines themselves. Local warlord Jan Mohammad has allied with the marines to hunt down the Taliban. But villagers claim that he is exploiting his new American connections to harass villages which belong to a different tribe. Their tribe, in their areas, have never been searched, one man complains. His friend claims that Mohammads men recently beat and imprisoned several young children in an attempt to gain information.
Ironically, as well as searching for Taliban and Al Qaeda members, the marines are also on a hearts and minds campaign to convince the locals the Americans are their friends. During an earlier raid, Major Alva Cook apologised to tribal elders for the extra dust their vehicles have kicked up. He also provides medical assistance while soldiers crack jokes with local militias about the surrounding poppy fields.
But if the aim of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan is to remove the Taliban and Al Qaeda remnants and allow the country to embrace true democracy, they clearly still have a long way to go. In this remote corner of the country they are turning the local people against them. Some are being driven to join what remains of the Taliban. As the village leader summed up Enough is enough . These Americans must be accountable to someone.
Taliban Country, in addition to winning the Walkley Prize, will be recognized at the International Festival of Biarritz. The broadcast of the documentary on Australian television has led to two U.S. military investigations.
- Contact Information
- 2005-06-13 18:31:22
- Carmela Baranowska
- Run time
- 18 min. each
Subject: yes this is what it's like
Subject: LTC 27
I have not watched the program and after reading the reviews I am not sure I want to. Trashing or de-legitimizing Allied troops..... I won't even get into it, I am sure you know what I would say.
In your review you say "....I wish all of you could see my films.....". Where could I find out the names of these films? I would love to see them.
Subject: Truth be told
Subject: Anal finguring is not torture
I expected to hear Wayloin Gentile doing some killer Taliban fiddling, but whatever you rectal ambassadors are into, just keep it clean.
Subject: US Marine Corp. - Anal Fixation?
Subject: The worst reporting to date
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